Marquez claims third MotoGP world title in Motegi
Marc Marquez clinched a third MotoGP World Championship with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix after title rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out.
The Repsol Honda rider leads by an unassailable 77 points after the convincing win at Motegi, with three races of the season remaining in Australia, Malaysia and Spain.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Viñales aboard the factory Suzuki completed the podium.
The two Movistar Yamahas led out of the opening pair of corners before Rossi had to fend off Aleix Espargaro for third.
The Italian made an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim second from Marquez next time around, before the 23-year-old surged to the front on Lap 4.
Already trailing by a sizeable margin coming into the weekend, Rossi went hard after his team-mate Lorenzo and made the pass on Lap 6.
However, the seven-time premier class world champion pushed too hard at the hairpin on the next lap, losing the front of bike #46, and despite remounting he would only continue to the pits.
Lorenzo nevertheless faced a battle to maintain second and thus a mathematical championship chance due to the pain incurred as a result of a nasty practice highside the day before.
With Dovizioso’s Ducati closing in, the 2015 world champion lost the front of his Yamaha at the V Corner on Lap 20 of 24, handing the title to his Spanish compatriot.
Marquez is the youngest rider to win five grand prix motorcycle titles having won the 125cc and Moto2 world championships in 2010 and 2012 prior to premier class triumphs in 2013-14.
“It’s amazing, an amazing feeling,” beamed Marquez.
“I really thought that (securing the championship) here would be impossible, but when I saw Rossi out I pushed 100 percent and went for the victory.
“When I saw that Lorenzo was out, on that lap honestly I made a mistake in maybe four or five corners because it was so difficult to concentrate.
“I’m really happy because it’s really special after last year’s season to be back on top with Honda in Motegi.”
Dovizoso equalled his best result for the season in second, while Viñales won out in a battle with Suzuki team-mate Aleix Espargaro to collect a third premier class podium.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was fifth and Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha) sixth.
The two Gresini Aprilias of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl finished seventh and 10th respectively, bookending the Pramac Ducati pair of Danilo Petrucci (eighth) and Scott Redding (ninth).
Queenslander Mike Jones finished his first ever MotoGP race in 18th, last of the classified finishers and a lap down on an Avintia Ducati.
Jack Miller failed to finish, crashing for the fourth time in the meeting, while Eugene Laverty joined the Marc VDS rider and the factory Yamahas as the other non-finishers after a Lap 3 crash.
In Moto2, Australia’s Remy Gardner finished in 19th position while Thomas Luthi took the win.
With Brad Binder wrapping up the Moto3 title in Aragon, only the Moto2 championship, led by Johann Zarco by 21 points, remains in play ahead of next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, from October 21-23.
Result: MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix
|1||Marc Marquez||Honda||24 Laps|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||+15.04|
|6||Pol Espargaro||Tech3 Yamaha||+19.65|
|8||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||+28.55|
|9||Scott Redding||Pramac Ducati||+28.80|
|12||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Ducati||+52.21|
|13||Bradley Smith||Tech3 Yamaha||+53.78|
|14||Tito Rabat||Marc VDS Honda||+54.76|
|16||Loris Baz||Avintia Ducati||+1:04.44|
|18||Mike Jones||Avintia Ducati||+1 Lap|